Before I Fall

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Before I Fall is a book by Lauren Oliver about Samantha Kingston, who is pretty, popular, has the best friends in the world and an amazing boyfriend. It seems that Friday, February 12, is going to be just another normal day, with school, friends, and partying. However, it ends with a horrible car crash that kills Sam and goodness-knows who else.

But instead of being sent to the Pearly Gates or thrust down into the fiery pits of Hades, Sam wakes up, in her bed, the morning of February 12. No one but her has any idea that she died the day before. Sam relives the same day for a week, learning more about the effects of her actions and realizing she didn't know as much about anything, including her self, friends, and schoolmates, than she thought she knew. A well received book that refuses to let characters fall into teen stereotypes, and is written by somebody who clearly understands actual teens.

Described as a mix of Groundhog Day and Mean Girls.

(Needs more love.)

Tropes used in Before I Fall include:
  • All Girls Love Ponies: Sam used to be a passionate horseback rider before Lindsay et al. shamed it out of her.
  • Alpha Bitch: Sam and her friends, Lindsay, Ally and Elody; although Lindsay appears to be the leader.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Izzy.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Sam and Kent on the last day.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Elody.
  • Character Development: Sam.
  • Charm Person: Lindsay is described as being very charismatic: "Being with her is like being drunk".
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Sam and Kent pretended to get married when they were six, leading to her first kiss.
  • Cool Big Sis: Sam spends one of her loops showing Izzy a favorite childhood haunt, giving her advice, and generally showing her all the time and affection she never gave her in real life.
  • Cool Loser: Kent Mc Fuller, who wears a bowler hat, draws cartoons and doesn't give a hoot what anyone thinks. Sam's little sister Izzy is implied to be growing into this as well.
  • Driven to Suicide: Sam and her friends did this to Juliet Sykes.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Lindsay, especially when drunk.
  • Eating Disorder: Ally has issues with food. Lindsay is downright bulimic, but, when Sam catches her in the bathroom, denies it.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Sam dies at least once.
  • Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Sam and Kent used to be friends as children; so did Lindsay and Juliet.
  • Fridge Horror: In-universe, when Sam wonders how the laughing, careless people around her will react to her death.
  • Gay Bravado: "Whoa, lesboing out much?" ... "Maybe."
  • Get Out!: In the second loop, Sam bursts out with a fierce "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Lindsay on the way to school. Lindsay evicts her from the car, forcing her to walk to school in a thin jacket. In February.
  • Good Bad Girl: Anna Cartullo.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Sam has no problem with smokers (including Lindsay), but their teacher Ms. Winters is on a personal vendetta to ban smoking at their school ever since her (Ms. Winters') mother died of a nicotine-related lung disease.
  • Groundhog Day Loop: Of course.
  • Hidden Depths: Everyone - that's part of the message. Two unpleasant teachers turn out to be secret lovers. Ally is a talented chef in spite of her weight concerns. Elody's mother is an alcoholic. The school's "bad girl", Anna Cartullo, is a fan of the surrealist artist MC Escher. Lindsay used to be friends with Juliet, until she blamed Juliet for wetting the sleeping bag at summer camp when it was actually Lindsay's own doing. The reason she bullied Juliet afterwards was either to stop her from telling, or to challenge her to stand up for herself - it's never quite clear which. Juliet has a loving family, including a younger sister just like Sam.
  • High School: Thomas Jefferson High School, also known in-universe as "Suicide High".
  • Hot Teacher: Sam's overly flirtatious math teacher, Mr. Daimler.
    • Somewhat inverted when he actually takes it further when Sam flirts with him when they're alone and she realises he's not as cool as she thought. She says to him later, "If you had a real girlfriend, you wouldn't be hitting on highschool girls."
  • Informed Attribute: Elody is described as "the nicest" of the four, but we don't see much of it except in the things she doesn't do, i. e. protest when Lindsay makes fun of her, or ignore her boyfriend's neglect.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Juliet, since Sam pushed her out of the way.
  • Jerk Jock: Sam's boyfriend, Rob, a lacrosse player.
  • Les Yay: Sam's descriptions of her friends veer into this territory, which she lampshades: "Of course I would never tell her this."
  • Motor Mouth: Kent when he's nervous.
  • Naive Everygirl: Sam makes a point of how ordinary she is, though she's a bit less good-natured than most examples.
  • The Nicknamer: Lindsay, and most of her creations are quite vicious: Juliet "Psycho" Sykes, Ben "Fart-sky", "The Turkey Jerk", Ms. Winters "The Nicotine Nazi", etc. ...
  • No Sparks: Sam is secretly disgusted by Rob's sloppy kissing technique.
  • The Ophelia: Juliet, called "The Psycho", who never speaks, hides behind her hair, and is described drifting along hallways "like a dandelion seed".
  • Really Gets Around: Elody, the most "experienced" of the girls.
  • Reset Button: Sam's new day starts either when she dies or when she falls asleep until her last day, where she dies for good.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The key to Sam's redemption is saving Juliet.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Rob's appeal to Sam, especially before she became popular herself.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Lindsay and Patrick, though Sam barely mentions it.
  • Sleep Cute: The only times Sam feels certain about loving Rob are watching him sleep on her shoulder.
  • Something About a Rose:
    • The girls compete over who receives the most roses for Valentine's Day and torment Juliet by sending her one every year with the words "Maybe next year, but probably not". Sam remedies this on the last day by sending her another one that reads "It's never too late".
    • Kent gives Sam a particularly beautiful cream-and-pink one.
  • Tastes Like Feet: "Butt bagels".
  • Their First Time: Planned between Sam and Rob the night of the party, mostly for Sam to "get it over with". But with every loop, the prospect seems less and less appealing -- on the sixth day, she plays a nasty prank to get rid of him, and on the seventh day, she finally breaks up with him in a mature, considerate manner. The sex never does happen, and she's more relieved than anything else.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: The word "bitch" is thrown around often, but Juliet uses it to great effect when she crashes Kent's party to give Sam, Lindsay, Ally and Elody a piece of her mind.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Kent, who's been in love with Sam for years even though she shows him nothing but contempt. Even when she does realize she loves him back, one kiss is all they get before the end.
  • Wild Teen Party: Kent has one, and it leads to the deaths of Juliet and/or Sam, depending on the night.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Out of the four friends, Sam and Ally are still virgins, and Sam doesn't want to be the last of her friends to lose her virginity.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Everybody knows that Alex is cheating on his girlfriend Bridget with Anna -- everyone except Bridget. Sam tips her off. Twice.